Scotland politics

Scottish council election: Tory manifesto at-a-glance

The Scottish Conservatives have pledged to give communities a chance to run local services, as they launched their council election campaign.

Party leader Ruth Davidson also backed council tax cuts and business rate changes.

Here is a look at the party's main pledges:

  • Action to reverse the "decades-long trend" of centralising power in national government, in favour of handing more responsibility to town halls and communities.
  • Councils should be more responsible for their own income.
  • Double the business tax incentive scheme, by putting 100% of cash raised by non-domestic rates, above target, back into local authorities.
  • Support continuation of the small business bonus scheme and business improvement districts.
  • Fund councils centrally through grants, based on population, social need and rurality.
  • Further cut "ring-fenced" funding, under which central government requires councils to spend money in certain areas.
  • Remove councils from being overseen by the Standards Commission and Public Standards Commissioner for Scotland watchdogs, and let them draw up their own conduct and complaints procedures.
  • Change regulation on allocating social housing to let landlords take into account income, property ownership, age and local connections when deciding who gets a home.
  • A zero-tolerance policy on anti-social behaviour in social housing, an increase in the number of evicted tenants being given "intentional homeless" status, and a consultation on simplifying the eviction process.
  • Remove the top cap on planning fees for large businesses, currently 10 times lower in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK, which would affect a "small" number of developments but would boost council funding.
  • Introduce a right to bid for community and voluntary groups with an interest in taking over particular council services.
  • Reform right-to-buy laws to give local communities a "right of first offer" on sales of land and other assets, as well as giving them powers to bid for private land and property that comes up for sale.
  • Schools should be able to operate outwith council control, where appropriate, and communities would be able to set up their own schools.
  • Give schools greater control over budgets, their right to consider alternative service providers and further open their facilities to community use.
  • Look to increase pre-school education funding, especially for vulnerable two-year-olds, and train teachers to identify dyslexia in pupils.
  • Let voters change the structure of their councils, including referenda in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh to oversee the election of "powerful" provosts who would take on some chief executive and local authority leader powers.
  • Introduce locally-elected police commissioners.
  • Extend direct payments for personal care.
  • Information on detailed council spending decisions, including salary information, to be publicly available.